An aspirin a day...
June 5, 2014
The FDA has released a short Q and A about the practice of taking an aspirin every day to prevent heart attacks or strokes. It’s a popular belief that taking one of those famous little pills every day will help you stave off the threat of a dangerous cardiovascular event.
But, the FDA says, there’s no actual evidence that’s true… at least, the first time. Intriguingly, the FDA reports that aspirin may be beneficial in preventing a second heart attack, rather than the first.
To this end, the FDA defines the difference between “primary” and “secondary” prevention - that is, “primary” prevention would be “prevention of attacks in patients with no prior history of cardiovascular disease.” Secondary prevention, then, is “measures to prevent further cardiovascular events in patients who have previously experienced a heart attack.”
The FDA goes on to say that in studying data related to taking aspirin to prevent heart attacks, it “did not find sufficient support for the use of aspirin for primary prevention.” In fact, the FDA reports that there could actually be risks involved - including the risk of serious bleeding in the brain or in your stomach.
However, they did find that the benefits of taking aspirin for prevention of a second attack outweigh those risks.
So, should you be taking aspirin to prevent a heart attack or stroke? As always, we recommend speaking with your doctor to come up with a plan for your ongoing care. Discuss your unique health situation, weigh the risks and benefits and decide together as a team.